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Religious liberty under attack in Houston

The city of Houston issued subpoenas last week demanding a group of pastors hand over sermons which dealt with homosexuality and gender equality.

This audacious move came on Tuesday at the behest of Mayor Annise Parker, the city’s first open lesbian to hold that office. Last June, the city of Houston passed a non-discrimination ordinance which was widely rebuked by area churches, as it could allow for men to use women’s bathrooms, among other things.

The same coalition of churches and pastors who criticized the ordinance are now having their constitutional rights infringed upon. According to Todd Starnes and Breitbart News, the subpoenas “seek any speeches, sermons, or communications with church members relating to homosexuality, gender identity, or Houston Mayor Annise Parker.”

Mayor Parker defended her actions on Twitter, stating “If the 5 pastors used pulpits for politics, their sermons are fair game. Were instructions given on filling out anti-HERO petition?”

Mayor Parker has faced significant backlash since national media begun to report her actions, and she has since backed down from some of her earlier claims. Her recent statement says the subpoenas were “too broad” and should not have included actual sermons.

Texas Attorney Genreal Greg Abbott asked the Houston City Attorney to immediately withdraw the subpoenas.

“Whether you intend it to be so or not, your action is the direct assault on the religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment. The people of Houston and their religious leaders must be absolutely secure in the knowledge that their religious affairs are beyond the reach of the government,” Abbott said.

Alliance Defending Freedom, a nationally recognized law firm which specializes in religious liberty cases, is representing five of the Houston pastors. They filed a motion in Harris County Court to stop the subpoenas.

Houston area pastors and people of faith are not likely to yield to bullying tactics by the opposition in the ongoing culture war. The Constitution of the United States is still the law in Texas, after all.

Featured image: Shutterstock.com 

Lauren Thompson

Lauren Thompson is a native Texan and graduated from Texas A&M University in 2011. She is a passionate advocate for government transparency, limited government and conservative principles. In her spare time she likes to blog about national security and counter-terrorism strategy, and she hopes to obtain her master’s degree in International Affairs. Her work has been featured by The Wall Street Journal, The Blaze, Fox News, and Life News. You can follow her on Twitter at @aggielt11

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